Energy generating projects (including wind and solar developments) are classified as state significant developments. SSD are deemed to have state significance due to the size, economic value, or potential impacts. They are assessed at a state level rather than the local council level.
State significant projects are assessed by the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment. The main steps in this assessment are shown in the following diagram from State Significant Development Guidelines, November 2021. The EIS is the Environmental Impact Statement which is due to be released in the short term. Submissions made by the community in the 28 days following its release are one of the most significant ways individuals and community groups can have a voice in the assessment process. To receive notifications on the Winterbourne Wind Farm planning process from the planning department, go to https://www.planningportal.nsw.gov.au/major-projects/projects/winterbourne-wind-farm and click on Notify Me.
Energy Corporation of NSW (EnergyCo), is the statutory body responsible for developing and co-ordinating the NSW Government’s Electricity Infrastructure Roadmap. It is the department responsible for planning in the 5 REZ’s (Renewable Energy Zones) – Central-West Orana, New England, South West, Hunter -Central Coast and Illawarra regions. EnergyCo operates under the direction of the NSW energy minister, Matthew Kean.
Australian Energy Market Operator manages electricity and gas systems and markets across Australia. They do not have capacity to over-rule or control generation, only how the energy is shifted around the states.
What is an EIS
An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is a document prepared to describe the effects for proposed activities on the environment. "Environment," in this case, is defined as the natural and physical environment and the relationship of people with that environment. This means that the "environment" considered in an EIS includes land, water, air, structures, living organisms, environmental values at the site, and the social, cultural, and economic aspects. An "impact" is a change in consequence that results from an activity. Impacts can be positive or negative or both. An EIS describes impacts, as well as ways to "mitigate" impacts. To "mitigate" means to lessen or remove negative impacts.
Therefore, an Environmental Impact Statement, or EIS, is a document that describes the impacts on the environment as a result of a proposed action. It also describes impacts of alternatives as well as plans to mitigate the impacts.